A picture, or a product demo, in this case, is worth a thousand words. Potential investors will be able to understand how your product works and how it addresses the problem in the marketplace if you can do a live product demonstration for them. It also shows the “real” product that your company is built around and proves that it’s more than just an idea.

Bear in mind that it’s the CEO who should conduct the demo— if the leader of the company can’t speak adequately about the product, investors won’t buy in.

The same advice that holds true for delivering a great presentation applies when giving a product demonstration

  • Remember to tell a story and be passionate about your product.
  • Keep the entire presentation to only 20 minutes.
  • Budget at most five minutes for the demonstration.

As you tell the story about your product and how it addresses the problem in the marketplace, put yourself in the shoes of the key customer. Your goal is to reinforce the benefits of solution you propose.

We’ve adapted the following “do’s and don’ts” from Guy Kawasaki’s advice on “How to Be a Demo God”:

Do your product demo alone

Since you have such a short window to conduct a compelling and thorough product demo, do it alone. You’ll only distract your audience if more team members participate.

Bring two of everything

Assume something will go wrong with your equipment and whatever else you’ll need to do a compelling demonstration—bring backups.

Organize yourself

Have your demo presentation stored in a folder on your desktop for easy access. If you’re demonstrating a piece of equipment, make sure the power is on and it’s warmed up and ready to go. Don’t be fiddling around as you try to start the demo.

Get to the demo

You’ve already laid the foundation for the problem and your solution. After a brief (maybe thirty-second) introduction where you put yourself in the customers’ shoes, get to the demo. If the investors are really keen, they will ask you questions afterwards.

Start with the big finish

Since you have such a short time to captivate your audience, you won’t have time to build to a big finish—start your demo with the coolest thing your product can do so that you totally capture their attention.

Cut the jargon

Do this for the entire presentation: speak in English, not in industry technical terms. Don’t try to impress the audience with your deep technical savvy.

Try to delay questions until the end

You want to make sure you convey the key points and avoid paths that draw you away from your key message.

End with an exclamation point!

End on a high-note. Save one last item for the end and then stop the demo. See if your audience has any questions and then go back to your presentation.

Lastly, keep the following points in mind:

  • Don’t try to fit too much into the demo and show all your product’s bells and whistles—address the key issues you solve and leave them wanting more.
  • Use the demo as an opportunity to position your product in comparison with the competition.
  • Practice your demo as much as you practice your presentation. Double-check that you’re following your storyline and rehearse it with other management team members and key advisors as the audience. Ask them to provide brutal and honest feedback.

References

Kawasaki, G. (2006, January 23). How to Be a Demo God.
Suster, M. (2009, June 10). Doing a Demo (VC pitch or otherwise)– Part 5 in VC Series. Posted to http://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/2009/06/10/doing-a-demo-vc-pitch-or-otherwise-part-5-in-vc-series/